Hobo Railroad: Official Statement Regarding the Historic Flying Yankee Streamliner Train
The Flying Yankee streamliner has a long and storied past in the annals of New England railroading. Since 2005, the Hobo Railroad has stored this historic train in Lincoln, NH as a courtesy to the State of New Hampshire (owner) and the Flying Yankee Restoration Group (stewards of the train). The train’s lore is very dear to all of us at the railroad—it has become a part of who we are. Although the next chapter of the Flying Yankee has not yet been written, we wish all involved great success in moving forward.
Built by the Edward G. Budd Company in 1935, the Flying Yankee dutifully plied the rails of the Boston & Maine Railroad until its retirement in 1957. For the next several decades, it sat outside, exposed to the elements awaiting a rescue. During the 1990’s, a group led by North Country businessman Bob Morrell acquired the train and began to plan for its restoration. Soon after, ownership of the Flying Yankee was turned over to the State of New Hampshire in an effort to provide long term stability and preservation of the trainset. In conjunction with this transfer, the non-profit Flying Yankee Restoration Group was created for the purpose of raising the funds necessary for a complete overhaul of the train and planning for its future operation.
By 2005, the project was at a crossroads. Although considerable resources had been put forth during the first phase of the restoration in Claremont, NH, the project was languishing and storage charges were being levied against the train daily. Bob Morrell had since passed away and his son, Stoney—who had picked up the torch as the project’s primary sponsor—was himself battling a serious illness. During this period, the Hobo Railroad (which had extensive experience with the restoration of similar Budd built equipment) stepped forward to offer free storage of the train for a period of up to 10 years. This generosity allowed the non-profit restoration group an opportunity to refocus their objectives toward the development of much needed fundraising strategies.
In an effort to jump-start the process, the Hobo Railroad donated thousands of dollars toward the restoration effort. When allocated project dollars fell short, the railroad often performed repair tasks free of charge, just to keep moving ahead. Much as they tried, the Flying Yankee Restoration Group experienced significant difficulty in raising money for the work at hand. Restoration initiatives continued on an intermittent basis during 2006 and 2007, until fundraising efforts proved inadequate to cover even the basic administrative needs of the project—much less any meaningful restoration. This, coupled with Stoney Morrell’s passing, led the Flying Yankee Restoration Group to close its office and lay off its President/Executive Director before 2009 came to a close.
Due to budgetary constraints brought about by the “Great Recession”, during 2010, the Flying Yankee Restoration Group unveiled a plan indicating a preference for future project efforts to be performed largely by volunteers. Subsequent to this announcement, it became apparent that the Hobo Railroad’s commercial restoration facility was no longer a good match for the project’s new direction. As such, the group began seeking an alternate location for the next phase of the restoration. Very recently, an opportunity to move the train to Concord, NH emerged, and this possibility is currently being explored by promoters of the train.
No matter what eventually becomes of the Flying Yankee, the Hobo Railroad is proud to have provided a “safe haven” for the train during its time of need. All of us at the railroad sincerely hope the best days for the train have yet to come. To that end, we encourage those interested in learning more about the Flying Yankee Restoration Group to contact project spokesperson, Wayne Gagnon, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail, at P.O. Box 886, Keene, NH 03431.